Just a few weeks ago, I wrote that the Blue Jackets had questions they needed to answer regarding their center ice position, as the organization had a surplus of forwards and a hodgepodge of centers.
But the news that Alexandre Texier will be away from the club for the upcoming season changes the calculus. Our Coby Maier already touched on how Texier's absence affects the club on the ice and is correct in suggesting that it has downstream consequences for several players like Kent Johnson, Kirill Marchenko, and others.
While many questions still need to be answered, the center ice position is in a clearer spot. On the one hand, that's a good thing as it gives players defined roles. On the other, it means that there are fewer options to make adjustments should a player struggle in their role, get injured, etc. With Texier out of the picture, the four centers on the club, barring heath, should be Boone Jenner, Jack Roslovic, Cole Sillinger, and Sean Kuraly, possibly/probably in that order.
Alexandre Texier did this shorthanded against Mark Stone. What a goal pic.twitter.com/59kl5jVVEl— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 21, 2021
Others, like Justin Danforth and Brendan Gaunce, could step in lower in the lineup and play center, but neither possess the offensive upside of Texier. In a situation where Jenner, Roslovic, or Sillinger get hurt/struggle, Kuraly could move up to 3C, as he did at times last season, and allow for Danforth/Gaunce to slot into the 4C. The Blue Jackets may have had a surplus of forwards, but you can never have enough centers. Unfortunately, the loss of Texier depletes an already-weak position group in the organization.
For better or worse, the NHL lineup is coming into clearer focus. Training camp will still bring a good deal of significance, as players like Johnson and Marchenko will jockey for position in the lineup, but some of the major questions that I had hoped to have answered - including where will Texier play, on the wing or at center? - has already been addressed.